Ripe, rich and full-bodied, showing silky texture, with lots of plum, red berry and blackberry character. Also digging for the earth, with a nice minerally, chalky personality that comes through on the long, tightly structured finish.
Founded in 1808, M. Chapoutier is one of the most renowned producers of the Rhone Valley. Though the producer was for much of its history a negociant known for decent but unremarkable wines, the newest generation of the Chapoutier family to run the business, Michel Chapoutier, has since the early 1990s turned the estate into a star. Michel embraced biodynamic viticulture in 1989, completely renovated the cellars and upgraded the elevage by using small oak barrels. With 151.9 acres of vineyards divided between the north and south regions of the Rhone Valley, M. Chapoutier is also one of the largest producers. Nearly 120,000 bottles total are produced each year. The prestige cuvees at the top of the M. Chapoutier line are neither fined nor filtered, giving them a richness and great concentration. Grapes grown by the estate are Syrah, Marsanne, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne. The vines average between 50 and 100 years old.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the appellation, is a large area of nearly 8,000 vineyard acres centered around the picturesque town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Located in southeastern France just north of the Avignon hills, the name of the appellation means “new castle of the pope” and it is a reference to the 14th century, when the Popes of Avignon built summer homes in the Southern Rhone Valley. Today the appellation is one of the most renowned in France and its terroir is known for layers of small pebbles, called “galets.” The stones in the soil are thought to help store heat and keep the soil warm, which helps ripen the grapes. The stones also help keep the soil from drying out in hot summer months. In 1923 Châteauneuf-du-Pape was a leader in establishing the idea that AOC wines in France should be made only with specified grapes, and the appellation allowed 13 grape varieties to be used. Since then the rules have been slightly modified to include several more allowable grapes. Red and white wines are produced, though in practice about 97% of all Châteauneuf –du-Papes are reds made with a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvedre, Muscardine, Syrah and Vaccarese. The red wines of this appellation are prized for being big, rich, spicy and full-bodied. White wines of the appellation are made with Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Picpoul and Picardin. Whites are floral, fruity and relatively full-bodied.